This year’s Obatala festival in Ile-Ife ended in pomp and circumstance yesterday when thousands of the adherents of Obatala deity as well as spectators trooped to the Temple of the Obatala to renew their covenant with the deity.
The grand finale also witnessed the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II renewing his covenant with the Obatala while the Olufon of Ifon-Orolu, Oba Abdulmaroof Olumoyero Magbagbeola equally did so while the two monarchs prayed for Obatala’s protection, guidance and blessings.
Present at the celebrations were adherents of Obatala, tourists and well wishers from both home and abroad.
In her reactions at the festival, a panamian who is a worshipper of Obatala and a tourist, Iyalode Yeyefini Efunbolade observed that, there is no doubt that Nigeria is the bedrock of African traditional religions while other African countries are the wagons for the worship of African deities.
Iyalode Efunbolade who has been worshipping Obatala for the past 29years opined that, if African deities are worshipped and their rules obeyed, there will be a strong nexus between them and the mortals since all deities are interested in the spiritual and general developmental growth of all human beings.
Mrs Efunbolade who has a typical Yoruba traditional marks, extolled the virtues of Obatala while stressing that, she was happy tracing her origin to Yorubaland and that as a mark of her happiness, all her children have Yoruba traditional marks.
She was full of praises for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II for promoting African traditional religions and for establishing a school known as Obatala School where modern education as well as studies in Africa traditional religions are taught.
She pledged her support for the school and donates various learning aids to them.
In her contribution, another tourist at the event, Queen Damie, a king in the Republic of Congo, expressed her delight at the Yoruba traditions and religions while calling on Africans in the Diaspora to assist in developing Africa especially in the area of the economy and African languages which are the pivot on which the rich African traditions and religions rotate.
While answering questions from journalists, the Obalesin Obatala, Chief Olaolu Oladuntan Okanlawon, who is the Chief Priest of Obatala, explained that Obatala, being a deity of purity and truthfulness is worshipped annually to renew the convenant between the deity and its adherents, adding that, in order to avoid provoking the deity, its followers have to be pure in mind and body.
Highlights of the festival were the procession of the faithfuls led by the Chief Priest and the Arugba from the Obatala
Temple to the Ooni Palace back to the Obatala’s Temple where various rites and propitiations were made.